Feds OK Reopening of Poultry Plant After Cockroach Problem

By NBC Bay Area Staff and Christina Cocca
|  Saturday, Jan 11, 2014  |  Updated 2:46 PM EDT
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The USDA has lifted the suspension at a Foster Farms plant in California’s Central Valley.

The plant will resume production Saturday morning.

The USDA shut down the chicken processing plant in Livingston on Wednesday after inspectors found it infested with cockroaches.

Foster Farms released a statement Friday, saying the Food Safety and Inspection Service investigators has determined Foster Farms' action plan to correct the problems addresses the agency's concerns.

“This is an isolated incident,” the company said in the statement. “No other company plants are affected. Today’s treatment is expected to fully resolve this incident.”

Foster Farms says the FSIS will continue to monitor compliance with the plan as well as the conditions at the plant.

This all comes months after a massive salmonella outbreak that spread to at least 23 states and Puerto Rico and sickened hundreds of people, including dozens in California.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture had issued a health warning for the chicken but did not issue a recall. A spokesman for Foster Farms said the infections were caused by eating undercooked or improperly handled chicken.

An agreement made in October between the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service and Foster Farms allowed the Foster Farms plants in California, two plants in Fresno and one in Livingston to remain open, as long as they enhance food safety practices.

Some of the salmonella strains are resistant to antibiotics, with a hospitalization rate that's double the normal amount, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Salmonella is a pathogen that contaminates meat during slaughter and processing, and is especially common in undercooked chicken.

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